Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Seven Days of Hilderbrand: Beautiful Day

While I liked the basic premise of this novel--Jenna Carmichael's deceased mother leaves behind a notebook detailing all her advice for Jenna's wedding day--it didn't impact as much as I thought it would emotionally. I've read reviews where other readers said they thought the mother, Beth, came across as pretty manipulative in "the Notebook" and I can't say I disagree.

What I enjoyed about this book was the calamity surrounding the characters during the weekend of the wedding. It's refreshing and honest to read a story and know most families have a fair amount of discord in them at all times. Jenna's father, Doug, who remarried after losing his wife to cancer, is trying to decide whether or not he should get divorced. There's Margo, Jenna's disillusioned and recently divorced older sister, who tries to spend the entire weekend dodging acquaintance Griffin Wheatley for reasons unknown until the last part of the book. Jenna's two older brothers are also in attendance, and one of them is engaging in a weekend fling with the Matron of Honor, who also happens to be married. Then there's the family of the groom--the  Grahams--and talk about a doozy. I instantly saw the story of John and Elizabeth Edwards as inspiration for Stuart's parents Jim and Ann Graham, right down to child Jim had with another woman (the despicable Helen, also in attendance on Nantucket), before returning to his wife and their three sons.

The extravagance of this wedding (there was a similar one planned in the novel, The Island) definitely makes this an appropriate light summer read. No one I know could remotely afford a wedding costing close to $200,000. And when the bride declares the wedding is off? You'll have to read Beautiful Day for yourself to check out the resolution.

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